20VC: Why The Engineer Will Replace The MBA As CEO, Why The Peace Dividends From The Autonomous Car Wars Will Generate More Value Outside of Transport & Why Old and Boring Industries Are The Most Exciting To Build In with Avidan Ross, Founding Partner @ Root Ventures
Posted on 5th November 2018 by hstebbings1
Avidan Ross is the Founding Partner @ Root Ventures, one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting newer generation of funds dedicated to backing bold engineers at seed. To date they have backed some incredible companies such as Nautilus Labs, Dusty Robotics, Tortuga AgTech and Instrumental.ai just to name a few. Prior to founding Root, Avidan was CTO at The CIM Group, with an aggregate of $15Bn AUM, Avidan was responsible for establishing the company’s technical vision and leading all aspects of the company’s technology investment. Before that, he built algorithmic trading platforms as Director of Technology at WHW Capital.
1.) How Avidan went from building algorithmic trading platforms to back the next generation of revolutionary engineers with Root?
2.) What does Avidan mean when he says “the peace dividends of the autonomous car wars will generate more value outside of transportation?” How does the commoditisation of these core components affect subsequent industries? With their commoditisation, does it not become a raise to the bottom on price and margin?
3.) How does Avidan approach the layering on new software products to emerging hardware devices? What does this mean for the margin required both for the hardware and the software? How does Avidan’s investor mentality alter when investing in hardware vs software?
4.) Why does Avidan believe “old and boring industries are the most exciting to build software in?” How does Avidan approach the common problem of customer education and selling to a customer base that does not want to talk to you and does not believe in your product? What do founders selling in these industries need to focus on to break through?
5.) How does Avidan assess the current landscape in terms of the quality and quantity of engineer CEOs? Why does Avidan believe the MBA CEO will be replaced by engineers? How has Avidan seen a variance in the background in the entrepreneurs innovating in “old and boring” industries?